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The Tippet Rise Arts Expedition

“I could not imagine a more appropriate place to experience live classical music for the first time, and for that I am so grateful to Peter and Cathy.”

-A Biochemistry and Hispanic Studies Student from Bozeman, Montana

Since the inaugural season at Tippet Rise, students and faculty from the Honors College at Montana State University, Bozeman have joined us each year for a weekend of conversation, exploration, and music. They tour the land, sculptures and structures. They attend concerts in the Olivier Music Barn and beneath the Domo. They spend time with the Tippet Rise staff. And they attend talks given by the many people who help to make the Tippet Rise vision a reality, from our Artistic Advisor to our lead architect, from visiting musicians and artists to our co-founders, Peter and Cathy Halstead.

It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students,” said the Dean of the Honors College, Dr. Ilse-Mari Lee. “One that allows them to immerse themselves not only in art, music, and nature, but also in architecture, environmental sciences, engineering and land management.”

Honors College students and faculty gather at Daydreams by Patrick Dougherty.

My mind, much like most of the world, is often a noisy and cluttered place. However, when I arrived at Tippet Rise Art Center, I found quiet and calmness unlike anything I’d experienced before. In that quiet, there was space for music that brought me joy, sorrow, and fear, but most importantly music that empowered me to live in the moment.

-An Industrial Engineering student from Encinitas, California

Called the Tippet Rise Arts Expedition, the program begins long before the students arrive at the art center. During the months leading up to their visit, each student prepares by studying a facet of the Tippet Rise mission. “From sculpture to music, ranching to sustainability, the art center serves as a portal for the students to explore a wide range of subjects,” said Dean Lee. “And it connects the students’ experience—the human experience, really—with the sights, sounds and beauty of Tippet Rise and the land that surrounds it.”

Each autumn, Dean Lee returns to Tippet Rise with more students and faculty to perform music and recite poetry and prose. The annual Honors Musicale has featured works by composers ranging from Mozart to Rachmaninov as well as pieces by contemporary artists, including Arvo Pärt, Martin Åsander and Dean Lee herself—a talented composer and cellist who performs regularly at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Montana Chamber Music Festival. In 2017, a beautiful rendition of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, narrated by MSU Professor of History Robert Rydell, was the program’s centerpiece.

Established in 2013 by the Montana University System Board of Regents, the Honors College at Montana State University provides opportunities for students to study, conduct research, and exchange ideas in a challenging and supportive academic environment. We are grateful for our collaboration with Dean Lee and her incredible students and faculty.

Dean Lee and her students during the Honors Musicale in 2018. Photo by Emily Rund.

Standing on a hill, looking out over the landscape…I was inspired by the acres and acres of land, sanctuary, dedicated to purity in nature and in art. Leaning back against the wall of the Music Barn, built with such care and intention, being surrounded by music made with the same care and intention, was an experience I will not soon forget. When I closed my eyes in Daydreams I could feel the hopes and wishes and wild imaginations of all those that had come before me and stood with me then…Tippet Rise has fueled my creative endeavors since my time there and I fully expect that it will for years to come. Thank you, Peter and Cathy and the rest of the Tippet Rise family, for making such a place available to the world.”

-A Photography and Creative Writing student from Great Falls, Montana